Posted on: August 31, 2010

Pacific Whale Foundation Hosts Wild Dolphin Days Celebratio

MA'ALAEA (MAUI), HI -- Everyone loves Maui's wild dolphins...so why not celebrate them? Pacific Whale Foundation invites the public to join our Wild Dolphin Days celebration on Maui on Saturday, August 7 and Sunday, August 8. This annual event honors the wild dolphins that live free in Maui County's waters, and celebrates the Maui County law, passed in 2002, which banned the public display of captive whales and dolphins.

"We're very fortunate that wild spinner, spotted and bottlenose dolphins inhabit Maui County waters, and can be seen and studied near the coasts of Maui and Lana'i," says Tracy Jones, Executive Director of Pacific Whale Foundation. "The people of Maui County are committed to protecting wild dolphins, which is why we are one of the few locations in the world to have a law that prohibits the display of captive whales and dolphins."

On Saturday, August 7, Pacific Whale Foundation will host its annual Wild Dolphin Sand Sculpture Contest. The contest will take place at the north end of Keawakapu Beach in South Kihei from 9 am to 11 am, with judging to follow immediately and prizes announced around 11:45. The contest is open to everyone, and there is no cost to enter.

Sculptures can be created by individuals, families or groups. Prizes will be awarded in the following categories: "Best Overall Entry by a Family or Group," "Best Individual or Group Kids" Entry (for kids 12 and under only)," "Most Realistic Dolphin," "Most Creative Entry," and "Funniest Entry."

The winner for "Best Overall Entry by a Family or Group" will receive passes for a family of four for Pacific Whale Foundation's Wild Dolphin Encounter Cruise, a three-hour adventure focused on watching the wild dolphins that inhabit Lana'i's surrounding coastal waters. Winners in other categories will receive dolphin-themed prizes from Pacific Whale Foundation's Ocean Store.

All participants will receive a free wild dolphin guide from Pacific Whale Foundation and a free wild dolphin poster.

Participants may register (FREE) on the morning of the contest at the north end of Kewakapu Beach on the sand by the Mana Kai Resort off South Kihei Road. Bring your own buckets, shovels and sculpting tools if you can; Pacific Whale Foundation will have a limited number for participants to use.

On Sunday, August 8, there will be a VIP Wild Dolphin Watch cruise, hosted by Pacific Whale Foundation Research Director Kristen Jule, PhD. She is the lead researcher on Pacific Whale Foundation's 2010 Odontocete Project, a study of the wild dolphins and toothed whales that are found off the coasts of Lana'i and Maui. This cruise is a great opportunity to learn about this research and some of its intriguing discoveries. Dolphin sightings are guaranteed on this three-hour eco-adventure, or you go again free. Passengers will receive a free CD of wild dolphin photos, free wild dolphin guide and free dolphin poster. 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. from Lahaina Harbor. There will be a 10% discount for anyone who participated in the Wild Dolphin Sand Sculpture Contest, held the day prior. Pacific Whale Foundation Members save 20% off the retail rate.

Check-in at Pacific Whale Foundation's Ocean Store at 612 Front Street, Lahaina (across from Banyan Tree Park). For reservations, call (808) 249-8811 ext 1 or visit www.pacificwhale.org and click on "ecotours" and "dolphin cruises." You can also click here.

Pacific Whale Foundation offers a variety of educational dolphin watch tours to Lana'i and gathers data on all sightings of toothed whales and dolphins observed, to document the distribution patterns of Maui County's marine mammals. To learn more, visit www.pacificwhale.org or call (808) 249-8811.